SOMETIMES JESUS LETS PEOPLE WALK AWAY by Jonty Allcock for Core Christianity
Many of our problems in living for Jesus stem from the root problem that we think we can do it. We assume we have the power. So we set about trying to push the camel through the eye of a needle.
But understanding the impossibility is the first step to obedience. This is the true freedom of what it means to be a Christian: honestly facing up to the impossibility of my own obedience, which leads me not to despair but to the God who is able to do all things.
A man who thinks he can earn eternal life.
Mark doesn’t tell us much about the man in Mark 10:17. He simply introduces us to “a man”. As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The man gets a couple of things very right.
He wants to know what he needs to do to be part of God’s great kingdom. It’s good that he’s bothered about God’s kingdom—he can see that it really matters. God is bringing all things in this world together under his appointed King, Jesus. That is God’s plan for the world, and this anonymous man wants to know how to get in on it.
And it is good that he comes to Jesus. Clearly, he has understood that there is something about Jesus that is significant. The man cares about the right thing. He comes to the right place. But this man has got one thing very wrong. He wants to know what he has to do. He has a high view of his own ability. He has a lot of confidence in his power to obey. So that is where Jesus starts.
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” (Mark 10:18-19)